For the last several weeks a handful of artists from Saugerties High School led by art teacher Robert Slate have been painting a large mural on a wall in the Donlon Gym. This past week they completed the project.
Located above the Partition Street firehouse, the gym is named after Saugerties favorite son, Roger Donlon, the first soldier who served in Vietnam to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Saugerties mayor William Murphy asked Slate whether he and his students would be willing to paint a mural that recognizes the important role athletics play in the lives of Saugerties youth.
Murphy was happy with the result. “I love it,” he said when he saw the completed mural.
“I wanted something that would give the art class a chance to put their stamp on the community, and tell a little bit of the history of the Donlon [gym] and sports in Saugerties. This really brings everything together: sports, art and the community.”
In addition to many of the sports played in Saugerties in the work are images of Roger Donlon and Jack Keeley, who helped start the Saugerties Athletic Association.
Slate and his students have been meeting for the last several months to come up with a plan for the mural. Each of the students contributed ideas. Student Maddie Gruen took what the other students suggested and put it all together into a cohesive mural, which the students expect to have completed by early August.
“This was totally a group project, with everyone contributing,” Gruen said. “We all have a love of art, and most of us play sports, so this was a natural project for us.”